Award recipients will be honored at the 2016 PDAC Awards Evening on Monday, March 7, 2016, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto, during the PDAC’s annual convention.
Awards recipients are selected by the association’s Board of Directors, based on the recommendations of the PDAC’s awards committee. See the selection criteria for each of the awards.
Bill Dennis Award
This award, named for a former president of the association, honours individuals who have accomplished one or both of the following: made a significant mineral discovery; made an important contribution to the prospecting and/or exploration industry.
Bruce Channel Discovery Team
For the discovery of gold at Bruce Channel in the Red Lake gold camp, Ontario.
Robert Cudney, Stephen Roman and John Whitton receive this award for their Bruce Channel discovery in the heart of the well-explored Red Lake gold camp in northwestern Ontario. It was discovered by Exall Resources Limited, which later became Gold Eagle Mines Ltd. after merging with Southern Star Resources Inc. In May 2007, an internal estimate of the deposit size was 14.1 to 16.5 million tonnes of mineralized rock at a grade of roughly 20-25 grams per tonne gold for a total of between 9 and 13.3 million ounces of gold.
The impressive discovery was located in the middle of Ontario’s third largest precious metals camp, with almost all of the required transportation and power infrastructure at its doorstep.
An exploration program began, including a hole drilled vertically from the ice in the middle of the Bruce Channel in the winter of 2004—the first indication of a new deeper gold deposit. The main discovery hole was completed in August 2005, indicating a potentially high-grade gold deposit. To allow year-round drilling, it was moved to the north and south shores, with drill holes longer than 2,000 meters and as many as 15 wedges off each hole. These technical challenges created a story of their own.
In June 2006, the Northern Miner profiled the project and highlighted the geological complexity of the Bruce Channel discovery. It wrote that the deposits around the Bruce Channel are probably the most structurally complex in the Red Lake camp, sitting, as they do, at the junction of three deformation zones—one trending westward, another northeast, and the third southeast.
This discovery was given the “Discovery of the Year Award” by the Ontario Northwestern Prospectors Association in 2008, the same year that Gold Eagle Mines was taken over by Goldcorp Inc. for $1.5 billion.
Distinguished Service Award
This award recognizes an individual who has achieved one or more of the following: made a substantial contribution to mineral exploration and mining development over a number of years; given considerable time and effort to the PDAC; made outstanding contributions to the mineral industry in the field of finance, geology, geophysics, geochemistry research, or a related activity.
For her unique and outstanding contribution and dedication to Canada’s minerals industry.
Patricia Sheahan, or Pat as she is better known, has a long and unique career in the minerals industry. As a leader and entrepreneur, she founded a worldwide technical information service for exploration companies focused on diamonds, base and precious metals. The subscription service, which began in 1972, has been indispensable for those in the field looking to make the next diamond discovery.
In 1972, Sheahan started her own consulting firm that provided a flow of information about the diamond boom in Canada, which ultimately paved the way for junior mining companies to enter the industry. By 1993, she had organized the PDAC Convention’s first short course on diamonds that attracted more than 400 people. Diamonds have since become a popular annual session at the PDAC Convention.
Sheahan has been a Director of seven junior companies, including ones that put into production the River Ranch diamond mine in Zimbabwe, Holloway gold mine in Ontario, Jericho diamond mine in Nunavut, and Kelsey Lake diamond mine in Colorado. She has served as Chairman on various committees, written five books, and contributed peer reviewed papers and articles.
Sheahan has strong ties to the PDAC. She has volunteered as a Director for 14 years, been a long-standing member on the Convention Planning Committee, served as Chair of the Communications Committee, and is a member of the Public Affairs Committee. A big believer in volunteering, she has edited and/or indexed conference publications, a thesaurus of geological terms published by the American Geosciences Institute, association newsletters and more.
The extensive library of technical materials and references collected by Sheahan, around 70,000, was donated to the University of British Columbia Mineral Deposit Research Unit in 1999.
Environmental & Social Responsibility Award
This award honours an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding initiative, leadership and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment and/or in establishing good community relations during an exploration program or operation of a mine.
Lucara Diamond Corp.
For its stakeholder initiatives, community engagement and focus on sustainable practices and long-term benefits at their Karowe mine in Botswana.
Lucara Diamond Corp. has committed to responsible development of its assets and operations, and has structured itself with long-term success in mind. It began publishing Global Reporting Initiative compliant sustainability reports in 2012 to ensure its performance was documented and communicated transparently to stakeholders.
The diamond producer has two principal assets: the Karowe mine in Botswana, which recently discovered the second largest diamond on record, and the Mothae project in Lesotho. Soon after acquiring the deposit in Botswana in 2010, Lucara Diamond embarked upon an intensive stakeholder mapping and engagement exercise to ensure community members had a voice in each phase of asset development. Feedback was instrumental in the decision to house its employees in the community, rather than behind fences on site, the design of local hiring and procurement processes, and even the naming of the mine which emerged from a local school competition.
The workforce at Karowe is comprised of 96 per cent Botswana nationals. Lucara Diamond aims to continue building strong ties with local communities and government authorities to strengthen and expand its innovative partnerships for a positive and lasting legacy. Lucara Diamond entered into a voluntary agreement to contribute a percentage of its annual revenue to the Lundin Foundation, a philanthropic organization supported by a number of publicly-traded natural resource companies committed to the highest standards of corporate responsibility.
From the perspective of the Karowe community, Lucara Diamond’s multi-faceted, nuanced approach to responsible mining has made a lasting contribution to improving quality of life, creating economic opportunities and contributing to sustainable development.
Skookum Jim Award
Recipients of this award have demonstrated exceptional achievement and/or service in a Canadian Aboriginal-run service business for the Canadian mining industry or a Canadian Aboriginal exploration or mining company, or have made a significant individual contribution to the mining industry.
For his innovation, hard work and dedication to the minerals industry in his community.
Darrell Beaulieu is a leader and highly-respected member of his community who served three terms as Chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. His work in the mineral industry began early in exploration, staking mineral claims and working on a number of exploration projects in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
Darrell has a keen mind for business and became the first President of Det’on Cho Corporation, the business arm of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. He was instrumental in the growth of the corporation, providing business support to the growing NWT diamond mining industry. He served on the Board of Directors for both the NWT Mine Training Society and the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines. In 2005, he assumed the role of President and CEO of Denendeh Investments Incorporated, a Dene corporation established to create long-term economic self-sufficiency for the Dene through profitable business ventures. Denendeh investments has been focusing its efforts on a diverse business portfolio including real estate, oil and gas exploration, communications and power delivery.
Darrell was a key player in organizing the Northern Aboriginal Business Association; a new association formed to reflect the growth and participation of Aboriginal businesses in the NWT. He built the foundations for a new mineral industry enterprise, a 100%-owned Aboriginal exploration and mining company. Denendeh Exploration and Mining Company—officially shortened to DEMCo—was launched in 2013.
Special Achievement Award
From time to time, the PDAC presents a Special Achievement Award that recognizes exceptional contributions to the mineral industry.
The Bjorkman Family
For their multi-generational dedication to geology, prospecting and diversity.
Bjorkman Prospecting is a long-standing Ontario-based prospecting company that has worked in locations all across Canada as well as internationally. Encouraged by his father, Karl Bjorkman started prospecting around 1990 and saw his business grow to include claim staking, exploration project management and technical support. His five daughters, Jessica, Katarina, Ruth, Veronique and Karla, along with one son named Bjorn, inherited his passion for finding gold, making it the third generation to work in the industry. Wife and mother Nikki, keeps the books.
In their time, the Bjorkman’s have covered significant ground. They have staked approximately 700,000 hectares, or 1.8 million acres of land. That’s approximately 16,000 to 19,000 km and 40,000 to 50,000 claim posts. The Bjorkman’s have an extensive archive of prospecting information, and in partnership with other Thunder Bay area entrepreneurs, they stake ground in anticipation of finding a senior partner to fund further and more extensive exploration.
The Bjorkman girls are credited for encouraging other women into a predominantly male dominated industry. Female prospectors are rare, let alone five sisters who feel more at home wandering the bush than they do in the city.
Their influence reaches further than gender. As volunteers with the charitable organization, PDAC Mining Matters, they have contributed to Mining Rocks Earth Science Camps sharing their knowledge and passion for prospecting and geology with Aboriginal youth in northern Ontario communities.
Thayer Lindsley Award
This award recognizes an individual or a team of explorationists credited with a recent significant mineral discovery anywhere in the world.
Cukaru Peki Discovery Team
For the team’s discovery of high-grade copper-gold deposits in Serbia which may prompt explorers to look for a new class of mineral deposit.
In July 2012, a joint venture of subsidiaries of Reservoir Minerals Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. announced the discovery of what became known as the Cukaru Peki copper-gold deposit in the heart of Serbia’s Bor mining camp, which has been operating for more than 100 years.
In January 2014, Reservoir reported inferred resources at Cukaru Peki, compliant with NI 43-101, of 65.3 million tonnes grading 2.6% copper and 1.5 g/t gold. This included 4.5 million tonnes grading 11.2% copper and 7.4 g/t of gold. Some observers speculate that the deposit could contain over a billion tonnes of mineralization grading over 1.2% copper equivalent.
Traditional down-hole geophysics did not work at Cukaru Peki because the mineralization was too rich to respond as expected. The mineralization is dominated by bornite (63% copper), chalcocite (80% copper) and covellite (50% copper). All of these minerals appear to be primary. For comparison, most of the world’s primary copper mineralization occurs as chalcopyrite (34.5% copper).
The mineralization at Cukaru Peki does not fit well with porphyry copper, VMS, or epithermal models. Its discovery may prompt explorers to search for a new class of mineral deposit.
Cukaru Peki is exceptional because it was a blind discovery in an established mining camp—it is large, of high-grade and could result in the establishment of a new geological model, providing targets for future explorers to seek.
Viola R. MacMillan Award
This award, which is named in honour of the PDAC’s longest serving president, is given to an individual or organization demonstrating leadership in management and financing for the exploration and development of mineral resources.
Silver Wheaton Corp.
For developing new and innovative business strategies that are a leading example for other companies and junior miners to follow.
Chap Mercantile changed its name to Silver Wheaton Corporation in July 2004, becoming a new and innovative type of publicly- traded company within the mining industry. Silver Wheaton’s business strategy portrays characteristics of a metal producer, a royalty owner, and has features of a corporate finance group. This structure allows Silver Wheaton direct ownership of metal in the ground, receipt of that metal upon production, and the ability to sell it to generate cash flow, all the while minimizing corporate overhead costs and maintaining a streamlined management structure. Similar companies have since started to follow this example.
Because their business model acquires metal in advance of production, using funds often designated to finance capital projects like mine construction, the market looked at the business mechanism employed by Silver Wheaton as a new type of project or corporate financing instrument.
Since 2004, Silver Wheaton has built a strong brand and set an example of how to make their business strategy one of the preferred methods for the junior sector to finance a mine. Creating a metal production stream has provided funds to under-capitalized companies while minimizing shareholder dilution, an important factor in times when share price is depressed due to market conditions. Corporate executives and their financial advisors recognized this feature. As a result, the company grew quite rapidly and, by the end of 2005, Silver Wheaton looked to produce and sell more than 9.5 million ounces of silver and by the end of 2006, the number would grow to over 10 million ounces.
Silver Wheaton is now positioned as the largest precious metal streaming company in the world.